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Police crack down on Lake Street protesters, remove barricades in Uptown

Arrests were made and crowd control munitions used on demonstrators during the operation.

A significant police presence has moved protesters out of the street in Uptown, where protests have been happening daily since the June 3 police killing of Winston Boogie Smith. 

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, dozens of law enforcement entered the area and began clearing protesters, detaining a number of protesters in the process.

Pepper spray and rubber bullets were used at times during the operation, with some protesters throwing items as police attempted to remove the barricades.

According to Star Tribune reporter Kim Hyatt, police "swarmed the intersection" of Lake Street and Girard, near to where Smith was killed, "aggressively removing makeshift barricades" and making arrests using zip ties.

Earlier Tuesday, Mayor Jacob Frey had said that the temporary barricades blocking the intersection must be removed, saying: "We can't have a major commercial corridor like this shut down." 

Frey added that police would "offer a dispersal order if anything goes beyond peaceful protest," and that: "Following the dispersal order we will give people time to leave. And if they don't, arrests will in fact be made."

Reports from the scene say that protestors were not made aware of any dispersal order before police descended on the protest site and started detaining people, with several local journalists saying they didn't hear a dispersal order.

Bring Me The News has reached out to the mayor's office for comment.

The scene around West Lake Street and Girard Avenue started with protesters demonstrating after authorities shot and killed Smith on June 3. 

But a deadly incident Sunday, June 13, in which a motorist crashed into a crowd, killing one and injuring others, has led to larger crowds who have gathered to memorialize the victim, Deona Marie Erickson. 

The ongoing protest at Lake and Girard comes as details of Smith's killing by law enforcement agents remains shrouded in secrecy.

State investigators say no bodycam or surveillance footage of the shooting exists; the deputies who fired the fatal shots won't be identified as they were working undercover for a U.S. Marshals task force; and attorneys for the woman in the car with Smith at the time of his shooting say she never saw a gun in the vehicle, as state investigators have claimed.

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